History will be made next week when Captain Matthew Flinders’ journal of his epic circumnavigation of Australia returns to sea – this time on Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2’s first voyage around the country.
More than 200 years after Flinders’ circumnavigation of Australia, Cunard and the State Library of NSW have announced that key items in the Library’s priceless Flinders collection will be displayed on Queen Mary 2 as the liner departs Sydney on Tuesday (February 14) on her maiden circumnavigation.
Along with Flinders’ handwritten journal and logbook, the liner will also carry an original copy of Flinders’ map of Australia, first published in 1814, which represents his life’s work.
Queen Mary 2’s 22-day round trip from Sydney will take the journal on its first circumnavigation of Australia since the navigator made daily entries in it during his voyage of discovery in 1801-03 in his ship HMS Investigator.
Flinders, who gave Australia its name, died in 1814 at the age of 40. He is credited with producing the first map of Australia, achieving a level of accuracy that still amazes modern mariners.
Peter Shanks, President and Managing Director of Cunard, said it was wonderful that Queen Mary 2 could carry items of such symbolic and emotional significance to Australians on her voyage.
"Cunard is a cruise line steeped in history and tradition so we are very grateful to the State Library of NSW for entrusting us with such priceless items of Australian and British heritage for Queen Mary 2’s historic first circumnavigation of Australia,” Mr Shanks said.
"Queen Mary 2 is making her voyage around Australia in a vastly different era to that of Matthew Flinders, but that only adds to the continuing interest in his remarkable achievements using what we would now regard as the most primitive navigational and seafaring methods.”
State Library senior curator and Flinders expert Paul Brunton said the Library saw the partnership as a fantastic opportunity to highlight the amazing achievements of the man who literally put Australia on the map.
“Flinders would be gob-smacked to learn that his logbook and journal was to be part of a second circumnavigation of Australia,” Mr Brunton said.
Mr Brunton will provide regular lectures to guests onboard Queen Mary 2, revealing the drama, tragedy, romance and achievements, which are captured in detail in his logbook and journal.
Carrying around 2600 guests, Queen Mary 2 will arrive into Sydney around 6.30am on Tuesday, berthing at Garden Island Naval Base. She will depart later that day to sail to Brisbane for her maiden visit to the Queensland capital.
Queen Mary 2’s maiden circumnavigation of Australia represents the first time the liner has been based outside her Northern Hemisphere homeports of Southampton and New York.